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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Gray Literature: Home

How to find research papers not published in traditional venues, such as research reports, white papers, pre-prints, technical reports, etc.

How to Use this Guide

The purpose of this guide is to help you find “Gray Literature” in the Galvin Library.  The term “gray literature” is often used to describe publications prepared by the various levels of government, by colleges and universities, and by business and industry, which are not produced or distributed commercially.  Types of gray literature include technical reports, research reports, preliminary reports, progress reports, statistical reports, etc.; conference papers and proceedings; pre-prints of journal articles; government publications; theses and dissertations; technical specifications and standards; operating manuals & user guides; “white papers”; and other forms of technical and commercial documentation. Use the tabs to find more information about the different types of gray literature.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to meet with a librarian about your specific topic, email rho@iit.edu or complete this appointment request form.

Read These Tips Before You Start

Librarians often find themselves repeating the same research tips when they meet with students and faculty.  Taking a few minutes to read this list of helpful hints could save you tons of time when you are searching.

1. Always start from the library website or this guide when you want to access a database.  Most databases need to know that you are authorized to access their materials.  When you go to a database's web site it will not be able to identify that you are an approved user.  When you go through an IIT library page you will be able to authenticate correctly and use the database right away.

2. Spend a few minutes test driving a database you've never used before.  Check out the help guides, try a few searches, and see how this database may be different from ones you've used before. 

3. Most databases don't search the way Google searches.  Entering a long phrase such as "how computer automation is used in federal government" in one search box doesn't usually work in a database.  Check the database's help section to learn how to best search that particular database.

3. There is no one perfect search.  Try many searches in many places to find what you are looking for.

4. Take advantage of any "folders" or "lists" available in the database or library catalog.  Use these to keep track of articles or books you will want to read later.  The URL at the top of the page is often a session-specific URL, meaning it will only work that one time. 

5. Does the library not have immediate access to the article or book you want?  We can get you nearly every book or article you want to read using our I-Share catalog for books or MyILL for articles.  These are fast and free services.  Use the box above to create your accounts so you can begin requesting items.

6. Please let us know when you are having any troubles from choosing the best databases to fixing a dead link.  We can't help or fix it if we don't know there's a problem.  See our Ask a Librarian page to contact us by IM, email, phone or in person.

Questions?

Get help from the Research Help Office:

phone: (312) 567-3616

email: library@iit.edu

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